Well, 2023 certainly hasn’t started the way that Republicans wanted it to start. Disarray on the Rep side, described by Axios as “institutional anarchy.” Schadenfreude for the Dems.
Here are some facts, observations, and heard-on-the-streets:
- It is so great to hear about the progress that Damar Hamlin has made over the past week. The outpouring of support and prayers from around the country has been amazing. God speed Damar.
- Kevin McCarthy’s pursuit of the Speakership of the House of Representatives has been an incredible spectacle. Watching a man grovel to some of the worst members of Congress in the history of the Republic is a horrible commentary on how low the Republican Party has sunk. McCarthy’s “concessions” to the House members who have been called “legislative terrorists” have depreciated the office considerably.
- McCarthy’s hardcore base of 200 supporters must be really POed that the management of the House has been turned over to the 20 or so wack-a-doodle members. During the next two years all legislating, from approving a budget or raising the debt ceiling to naming a post office branch, will be a challenge for the so-called Republican leadership. The crazy caucus will be running the show. The crazies remind me of Hedley Lamarr’s gang that was rounded up to attack Rock Ridge in Blazing Saddles. Which is an appropriate analogy since for Gaetz, Boebert, Greene, Jordan, Gosar, Good, etc. it is all about performance. They have no interest in the hard work of governing. Newt Gingrich of all people recently said he “can’t imagine how one could run the House with the blackmailers as self-righteous and militant as they currently are.”
- There is an old expression in politics that generally goes like this: never interfere with your opponent while he is in the process of self-destructing. That is what the Democrats in the House have been doing.
- Mitch McConnell is setting himself as a foil for House Republicans by going about the business of being a legislator and even making an appearance at an infrastructure event with President Joe Biden.
- George Santos caught a bit of a break during his first few days as Congressman-Elect while the attention of the news media was mostly directed at McCarthy, but that will change soon. Possible violations of law and continuing revelations about his past may force him to resign. Could Big Dog Strategies have prevented all this commotion if they had dug deep into Santos’ background while acting as his consultant and material designer?
- Meanwhile, Donald Trump is not getting all the love he expects and demands from Republicans (except from McCarthy).
- Much has been written and spoken about the election of four additional New York House seats for the Republicans, which happens to be the majority margin of the Reps in the House. Overlooked in the commentary, however, is how small the margins of victories were in those races. Out of a combined total of 1,130,153 votes cast in the districts, the collective winning margin was 39,291 votes. More than half of that number belongs to George Santos. The seats, therefore, which were all carried by Biden in 2020, will be among the prime targets for Democrats in 2024. Those campaigns are in some form already underway, with Kevin McCarthy providing Democrats with the ammunition.
- Governor Kathy Hochul’s choice for Chief Judge of the state Court of Appeals, Hector LaSalle, is drawing fire from a block of progressive state senators who will be voting on the confirmation. As noted in a previous blog post, the process for the selection of the new judge has been compromised by the political slant of the Commission on Judicial Nomination which selected the seven potential nominees.
- The state Senate and Assembly have selected their new leadership for the 2023-2024 term. In the Assembly the only Western New Yorkers among the 58 members holding Assembly leadership or committee chair positions are Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Assemblywoman Monica Wallace, who will chair the Majority Steering Committee. Assemblyman Bill Conrad and Assemblywoman Karen McMahon chair Task Forces or Commissions.
- In the Senate Senator Tim Kennedy is the Senior Assistant Majority Leader and also Transportation Committee Chair. Sean Ryan has been named Chair of the Commerce, Economic Development, and Small Business Committee.
- Former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra last month changed his voter registration to “independent voter.” Giambra tells Politics and Other Stuff he is not happy with how either the Democratic or Republican Parties are operating. He has no current plans to seek public office.
- The race for Erie County Executive will highlight the 200 or so offices on the ballot in 2023. Mark Poloncarz will be the running for his fourth term. Republicans are playing things close to vest. Their selection of a candidate will be complicated by the disagreements between the Republicans and their long-time allies in the Conservative Party. Maybe the Conservatives will go their own way. The Conservatives went with losers in the primary elections for Congress in 2020 and Erie County sheriff in 2021.
- Those problems will carry over to the campaign for the 10th district legislative seat that was recently vacated by State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Lorigo. Republican members of the Legislature were required by the County Charter to appoint a registered Conservative, the party of former Legislator Lorigo. They appointed Elma Councilman James Malczewski.
- At the legislative meeting last week when the appointment was made the Chairman of the County Conservative Party, Ralph Lorigo, was given permission to speak, and he did so in favor of the appointment of his daughter-in-law, Lindsey Lorigo (Joseph’s wife). Having a political party chairman address the Legislature publicly on any matter is unprecedented. Lorigo then crossed the line to basically threaten sitting Republican legislators, telling that they could be denied the Conservative Party endorsement if they did not go along with him. Lorigo was wrong in stating that the legislators were “ethically and legally obligated” to accept the Conservative Party’s selection. The County Charter provides no role for a political party in the process. Lorigo, who is 75 and has been Chairman of the Conservative Party for 29 years, also said that “[w]e can’t continue to just recycle old white men.”
- To be eligible for the appointment Malczewski needed to change his party affiliation, at least temporality, to Conservative. Being a registered Conservative will also allow him to run in a Conservative primary for the seat in June. The Republicans will give him Wilson-Pakula permission to run in a Republican primary.
- Mrs. Lorigo will likely change her registration from Conservative to Republican in order to enter a Republican primary. The Conservatives will give her Wilson-Pakula permission to run in a Conservative primary.
Let the games begin.